Chesterfield resident, Stevie Chandler, is one of hundreds of British nationals trapped in Peru and who have so far been unable to secure a flight home. The country has been completely locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic and no commercial flights have been allowed in or out. Toby Perkins MP wrote to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office last week after hearing of Stevie’s plight to demand that the Government repatriates all British citizens immediately.
A commercial carrier had offered to arrange a flight but was charging £2,570 – £3,000, which is almost 10 times the normal price. The Israeli and German Governments immediately committed to funding the repatriation of their citizens, but British citizens were initially told that they would have to pay for their own flights. Following an outcry from Toby Perkins and other Labour MPs, the Government have announced that they will be arranging flights back from Peru next week, and people will pay a maximum of £250, which does not have to be paid back until they have returned to the UK.
Toby said, “I am pleased that Stevie and the other Brits trapped in Peru will now be brought home, but the Government should have reacted sooner to reassure them. The situation in Peru sounds potentially volatile and Stevie was clearly very scared. The British Embassy was closed last week so our citizens could not even get hold of any one for advice or support. This heightened the fear and confusion for the people trapped there and their families back in the UK.
I’m not interested in scoring political points, and I have applauded much of the action taken by the Government in response to this crisis and the steps they have taken to protect businesses and people here in the UK. But the Government has a responsibility to our citizens no matter where they are and should have made it clear immediately that they would get our people home”.